Many Blues fans are disappointed that the club did not bring in more players during the January transfer window. Scott Hogan’s loan deal from Witton until the end of the season, was the one deal which involved a player arriving into St Andrews.
Blues have been one of the lowest scoring teams in the Championship this season, so it was imperative that the club signed a player who knows where the back of the net is to support Juke. When you look at Hogan’s record at this level, we look to have picked up a goalscorer.
The lad scored on his debut for Pep’s side in our 2-1 victory over Nottingham Forest. His goal brought the us level in the game in the first half, before Kristian Pedersen won it for Blues in the 74th minute.
Hogan has already been out on loan from his club this season to Stoke. The Ireland international scored three goals in 15 games for the Potters.
Witton recalled their player from the agreement with Stoke, in order to allow the 27-year-old to head to St Andrews. He only started five games during his spell with Michael O’Neill’s team. Hogan has risen through the leagues during his career so far.
After non-league spells with a number of clubs, he returned to Rochdale where he was part of their youth set-up in 2009. His goals for Dale helped them gain promotion form League Two into League One. He was then acquired by Brentford who paid in the region of £750,000 for his services.
Unfortunately for Hogan, injuries prevented him from making an immediate impact with the Bees. Once he got his chance though, he went on an excellent goalscoring run in the Championship. He scored 14 goals in the 2016/17 campaign before signing for Witton in the January transfer window.
Blues have taken full advantage of the loan market this season. They signed goalkeeper Moha Ramos from Real Madrid back in the summer until the end of the season. The Spanish side, who are the odds-on favourite at 8/13 in the La Liga betting for the title, have given the Birmingham the right to sign the youngster on a permanent deal at the end of the campaign.
Defender Jake Clarke-Salter is also at St Andrews on a temporary basis, while Jefferson Montero is out on loan with the Blues from Swansea. Those two players have been useful additions to the squad.
Pep will now have to work with what he has in his squad until the summer. Results have improved in 2020 as we beat Luton 2-1 at Kenilworth Road, and drew with Cardiff and Middlesbrough to earn valuable points followed up by beating Forest at home, overcoming Coventry in the 4th round of the cup after a replay, then two consecutive away wins at Bristol City on Friday, and Barnsley tonight. Hogan of course now has 3 in 3!
Although a charge towards the play-offs is probably unlikely, Pep seems to have steadied the ship after a very disappointing run. He will be keen to finish as high as possible in the Championship table. We do still need about 10-12 points to be safe from the relegation and avoid being dragged into that battle before the season finishes, but after the last 3 matches – relegation already seems unlikely.
Just to finish, back on Hogan. He seems to have connected with the squad, and has a “Kevin Phillips” style about him. This can only help free up Juke, who was working his wotsits off for little reward. If Hogan carries on being successful at St Andrews, we may look to splash out some cash for the striker later this year.
Things are looking up again – not too soon either!